Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train

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